2019 AHEAD Conference Program Highlights

As you look through the wide variety of concurrent and poster presentations offered this year, you’ll see distinctive icons flagging sessions that focus on highlighted conference topics. We encourage you use this information to enhance your conference experience and to focus your attendance if you are looking for a specific emphasis in your professional development.

Anti-Ableism Caucusing

Wednesday,  July 10, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm (Faneuil room)

Disabled DS Provider Caucus
Teryn Robinson, Constultant
Elizabeth (liz) Thomson, M.A., University of Illinois Chicago
Non-Disabled DS Provider Caucus
Jen Dugger, M.A., Portland State University
Melanie Thornton, M.A., University of Arkansas

We are all affected by institutional ableism, and we must work together to dismantle it. This session will be split into two: one group for DS providers who identify as disabled, having disabilities, or having a lack of privilege to do with ability, health, and/or navigating systems and barriers; the other for DS providers who identify as non-disabled or who have non-disabled privilege. This division of DS providers into separate groups provides an environment and intention to critically engage in dialogue about how disability-related power and privilege (or the lack thereof) impact each of us, and how that impact is then felt by the students and colleagues with whom we work. Both groups will discuss strategies for liberation and change. All participants will come together in the final hour. There is no extra fee to participate, but facilitators ask that you sign up in advance using this sign up form. Space is limited.


Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13, 8:00 am - 8:45 am

Start your day with four dynamic Talks inspired by the famous TED Talks and enjoy a morning coffee or tea with colleagues. AHEAD Talks are personal story-like presentations designed to have impact the audience on a personal level, providing insights, inspiration, and an opportunity for reflection. This year’s Talks include:

  • Can You Really Understand Me?
  • Our Goal is Not Compliance - and Why Yours Shouldn’t be Either
  • Stewards of the Profession: Educating the Future Leaders of Campus Accessibility and Inclusion
  • Pursuing Discomfort: Experiencing Growth and Peace by Finding and Embracing the Uncomfortable

Featured Presentations

Thursday, July 11, 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Twice during the conference, we’ll highlight popular presentations on important and emerging issues. The following sessions will be offered with minimal competition and in large venues to allow for large audiences:

  • OCR Year in Review; Mary Lou Mobley, Office of Civil Rights
  • Everyday Ableism - Exploring Disability Bias and Microaggressions
  • Universal Design for Learning: Accessible To ALL
  • The Dance of Coaching: How to Support Parents Who Want to Cut In?
  • Online Access & Accommodations: We've Been There, Done That
  • Legal Year in Review
  • Know Your WHY to Excel at Your WHAT
  • Building a Campus-Wide Universal Design Framework from the Ground Up

Get the Most of AHEAD!

Over lunch on Saturday (12:45-1:45), join us for a walk-through of AHEAD resources:

Gavin Steiger, M.J.Ed., University of Houston Clear Lake
Jane Johnston, Manager of Membership, AHEAD

If you are new to AHEAD or disability resources/services in higher education or wanting to learn more about AHEAD’s resources, this meeting is for you! Representatives from AHEAD's Membership Stakeholder Group, leaders, and staff will share the many resources available through AHEAD. We’ll highlight AHEAD, highlighting online communities and resources, professional development events, and networking opportunities.

The 70273 Project in the Exhibit Hall

The 70273 Project At last year’s conference, AHEAD members participated in an international project to honor the lives of more than 70,273 disabled people deemed “life unworthy of life” by the Nazis.  AHEAD members created enough quilt blocks to make two quilts. The finished quilts, also pieced together and finished by AHEAD members, return to the Boston conference. Thank you to all those who participated! Learn more at http://www.the70273project.org

Sensory Room Sponsored by the Autism/Aspergers SIG

As the population of students with Autism, sensory sensitivities and anxiety in college students continues to increase on our campuses, a sensory room or meditation room is a way to give students a place to calm. Sensory rooms or meditation rooms are useful in residence halls, student centers, academic buildings and are often used by students, staff, and faculty alike. People can use the rooms to calm when they are stressed or overstimulated. On one campus, a reduction in conduct code violations was cited when the sensory room opened in a residence hall. Another campus is developing sensory rooms in all residence halls in partnership with student groups with each group cost equaling less than $700. The space does not need to be very large and expensive furnishings are not required. Quiet is required in the room and any music must be listened to through headphones or earbuds. This is one example of what you can do, please talk with a member of the Autism/Asperger’s SIG for more information and alternatives.